Mets hire Carlos Mendoza after 2001 WS hero rejects job offer

Ex-Brewers manager Craig Counsell and ex-Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza, who the Mets hire as their new manager on Nov 6, 2023.

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The New York Mets found their new manager among the training staff across the city. Reports indicate that Carlos Mendoza, formerly the bench coach for the New York Yankees, has been chosen as the Mets’ new manager.

Mendoza was in the running for the managerial job both in the Queens and Cleveland. However, he was not the first choice for the Mets’ job. Craig Counsell, who played a key role in the Diamondbacks’ 2001 title win over the Yankees, was the frontrunner. However, the highly rated Milwaukee manager preferred to join the Chicago Cubs over the Mets offer, and this resulted in Mendoza’s hiring.

Yankees Mendoza heads to the Queens

Mendoza, aged 43, boasts a long history with the Yankees organization, dating back to 2009. During his tenure, he managed in the minor leagues and most recently served as the bench coach under manager Aaron Boone for the past four seasons. Additionally, he has taken on roles as an infield coach and a roving defensive instructor.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who cited sources, Mendoza left a strong impression during his interviews.

The Mets made the decision to part ways with Buck Showalter at the end of the season. Showalter’s tenure lasted two seasons, with the 2022 season seeing the Mets return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. However, the team underperformed significantly in 2023, finishing with a 75-87 record, far below the expectations associated with having the highest payroll in the league.

David Stearns of the Mets explained his criteria for a manager, emphasizing the importance of their ability to manage people and personalities effectively. He highlighted the need for a manager to create and nurture an organizational culture in which people find joy in their work and are motivated to work diligently.

Over the past few seasons, Mendoza has emerged as a highly sought-after managerial candidate, having conducted interviews with the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, and Cleveland Guardians during this offseason.

Craig Counsell rejects the Mets’ job


David Stearns, in his role as Mets president of baseball operations, experienced a setback with his initial major move. Craig Counsell, who was widely regarded as David Stearn’s primary candidate to succeed Buck Showalter, has opted to take over as the manager of the Cubs, replacing David Ross. The deal is reported to be a five-year contract worth more than $40 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

With an annual average value of at least $8 million, this contract would establish Craig Counsell as the highest-paid manager in MLB history, surpassing the legendary Yankees manager Joe Torre, who earned $7.5 million in 2008, setting a new standard for big league manager salaries.

Jon Heyman of The New York Post suggested on the MLB Network that Craig Counsell’s choice to join the Chicago Cubs may have been influenced by proximity. Chicago is situated roughly 90 miles south of Counsell’s family residence near Milwaukee.

By hiring Craig Counsell, the Cubs have secured a highly regarded manager who played a significant role in transforming the middle-market Milwaukee Brewers into a winning team during his nine-year tenure.

Craig Counsell assumed the role of manager for the Brewers in May 2015, taking over after a disappointing 4-17 start led to the dismissal of Ron Roenicke. Over his nine-year tenure managing Milwaukee, Craig Counsell accumulated an impressive 702-625 record, resulting in a .531 winning percentage. During his leadership, the Brewers claimed the NL Central title on three occasions and clinched five postseason appearances, including a wild-card loss in 2023, in the past six years.

Before embarking on his managerial career, Craig Counsell had a successful 16-year run as a utility infielder. He celebrated two World Series championships, one with the Marlins in 1997 and another with the Diamondbacks in 2001. Additionally, he earned an NLCS MVP Award.

His most defining moment came in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. Despite being hit by a Mariano Rivera ball, he helped Arizona load the bases. Luis Gonzalez then got a walk-off RBI single over the drawn-in infield in the bottom of the 9th inning, winning the World Series for the Diamondbacks.

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